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Did I just get played?

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RanBlade

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So I have been working on a server system for a couple of guys. I wrote a backend game server, a node.js/socket.io middleman client agent server. And then I wrote all the socket.io network message code in the browser to make life easier on the client/webpage guy. It took about 2 months and I worked my ass off. We did our first test and the server kept crashing, I fixed those problems. second test again (UGH!)... third test no crashes but they didn't like the flow. So the client guy and I reworked the flow and did one last test.. game worked perfectly and the guys backing the idea LOVED it.

They were all about the project. But I get a call today saying they want to redesign a lot of things and are going to put development on hold and that they will call me back when they are done with there design phase and they didn't see a need to renew a programmer's contract during this phase.

I have this odd feelign they are going to take my tech demo I made for them and go somewhere else with it. I know it was good experience and all but I was just looking forward to taking this to the next level with them. Oh well life moves on I guess.
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Take a look at your contract. Have you agreed to transfer the ownership of the code you have written for them (this is common if you are an employed worker). If this is the case and you got paid for it, all is fine, if you don't get paid for it, then you have learnt a lesson [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]

A better option would be to define the conditions of use in your contract, ie. that you keep the ownershipment, they are allowed to use it for project X and only project X, or that the ownershipment returns to you if the project is on hold or has been cancled. Best to ask a lawyer in this case and future projects :)

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You are right they did not rip me off. I got paid and everything, And yes ownership is theres I knew that. I guess I just had idealistic hopes of being a part of this to the finish and staying in this profession and being home with my family. I do aplogize for the rant.

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Well it sucks that they no longer need your services, but that's just business in general. I myself may hire some artists for projects and later down the road hire new artists for different graphic additions based on the concept. But, it all depends on the terms and conditions agreed to in the contract.

I hope you got payed well at least!

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No I cut them a deal and did it really cheap to try and help develop the product cheap (I was only one getting paid at all because I was only one of the 3 that were unemployed). We had talked about it and I agreeded I would do the tech demo for cheap to help get to the next stage where it wasn't all coming out of there pockets. And now that they are there they have decided to not renew my contract for there reasons. Oh well you live and learn. maybe I should delete this post so I don't look like a spoiled brat lol.

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I would revise your contract and never de-value your services again. I know of a lot of companies that are so cheap they out source projects for some guy to get paid minimal then boot his butt off the project and use in house programmers after the hard work has been done.

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I would sugguest to ask them for honest feedback of your work. When they are unsatisfied with your work, future customers might be unsatisfied too. Best to ask for honest feedback and don't try to defend your work or feel bad, just get it, analyse it and learn from it(or forget it if there is evil blood involved).

It is not uncommon that even larger studioes turn a project around in development (AAA example: borderlands), chances are there, that an unexperienced studio or indie developer start with a great vision just to recognize that it is not feasable in that scale and that they need to take the project on hold and scale it down.

When you are the only one who got paid, it is understandable to reduce the costs once it is obviously that the project is going in the wrong direction.

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That is the thing. They were "very impressed with what I have done". It worked just like they wanted and it would scale with proper hardware (currently running on a VPS just for tech demo). They just want to "add new features and don't need a programmer while they are designing them". Apparetntly they thought continued polish and bug fixing was going to be done for free while they were in this "design phase", atleast that is the sense i get in the last email.

Anyway I thank you all for your feedback and this has been a huge learning experience for me. I don't plan to be the super nice push over anymore. I won't just give people work again because I did this for next to nothing. Thinking it over this is no ones fault but mine.

Edit: I know I am a indie guy with less expereience then most programmers at a big studio. Yes I know my program could be better and that a AAA studio could do it faster and better. I am not trying to claim my work is the greatest. But it did exactly what they asked for and with reasonable speed.

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From personal experience, I would suggest "video" demos of your product as well! I had several occasions when I was asked for the source code as part of the demo example. This is the biggest mistake you can make! Even on team projects were I was the only programmer, I never shared the source code due to the risk of them going off with it. You need to protect yourself from crooks.

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One other thing you might consider for the future if you're not charging an hourly rate is specifying the number of major revisions included in your fee and how additional revisions will be discussed and priced -- you'll also need to be clear about what constitutes a major revision. It sounds like you did a significant amount of additional work that could have been avoided with a more specific set of initial requirements or which you perhaps should have been paid a little extra for, and most serious developers will be happy to work with such conditions.

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[quote name='Black-Rook' timestamp='1351729009']
From personal experience, I would suggest "video" demos of your product as well! I had several occasions when I was asked for the source code as part of the demo example. This is the biggest mistake you can make! Even on team projects were I was the only programmer, I never shared the source code due to the risk of them going off with it. You need to protect yourself from crooks.
[/quote]
Good idea, but if I was hiring someone, I'd want to make sure the code I'm paying for is high quality. You wouldn't need to send me the whole project, but I'd expect to see a large enough section of code that I can get a feel for whether it was written well or not, whether it was properly formatted, and whether it was commented or documented. I don't want to buy code that I then need to submit to TheDailyWTF once delivered.

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I understand this, which why programmers need a portfolio available with software examples. If I wanted to hire an artist, I wouldn't expect a demo piece of what I was looking for, but their overall skill set. You can also have contract signed agreeing that the code is for the eyes only if a large piece of code is required. It's just very sad that people are willing to cheat anyone to save on development costs.

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